Published On: Tue, Jan 25th, 2022

Dragons’ Den offers leave man in disbelief after ‘remarkable turnaround’ | Personal Finance | Finance

Mr Mendham’s pitch got off to an abysmal start, Mr Mendham almost exited the den before the Dragons had finished making their decision. However, noted as a “remarkable turnaround” saw three Dragons bidding for a chance to get hold of Barenaked Foods.

Mr Mendham appeared on the show when he first began the now supermarket staple Barenaked Foods, a tasty but low calorie food option for dieters. 

Mr Mendham shared his personal story and experience that led to him founding the Barenaked Foods brand, and said: “When I was younger I was always slightly overweight and as a kid I was bullied as a result. In my teenage years I suffered from body dysmorphia and it really got me down but I did decide to do something about it.”

Eating correctly and exercising provided Mr Mendham with a smaller, more muscular build but after starting another low carb diet he realised the clear lack of low carb pasta alternatives. 

When he approached the Dragons there were only two products being sold by Barenaked Foods: noodles and protein noodles, both of which were under 30 calories and had no fat.

However, one of the first major obstacles in Mr Mendham’s pitch occurred when he mentioned that the noodles were gluten-free. 

Mr Mendham went on to cook some of the noodle offerings in the den, disgruntling some of the Dragons with how long it took to make. 

After sampling the food, Kelly Hoppen pointed out that it had oatmeal in it, essentially making it not gluten-free and potentially harmful for those with gluten allergies like herself. 

Shortly following this stumble, Mr Mendham’s lacking financial knowledge was made clear to the Dragons as he fumbled to provide his monthly profit projections. 

He apologised for his incompetence noting: “Maths wasn’t my strong point at school.” to which Peter Jones harshly replied: “I’m starting to notice that.”


Deborah Meaden also added insult to injury, saying: “This is a very disappointing presentation from you” before declaring herself out. 

Ms Hoppen, cautious following the gluten-free claims and confusion, also declared herself out of the deal. 

Mr Jones chose to look further into the founder rather than just the food and questioned how Mr Mendham was currently financing his lifestyle. 

As he started to respond, Mr Mendham promptly walked to the back of the room and into the elevator that one uses to enter and exit the den with tears streaming down his face. 

In a miraculous turn of events, Mr Jones offered the full £60,000 Mr Mendham was looking for in return for 50 percent of the business. 

To the surprise of an already shocked Mr Mendham, Duncan Bannatyne piled on two more offers, the first providing £60,000 for 50 percent and the second offering £30,000 for 25 percent of the business. 

Piers Linney also joined what seemed to turn into a bidding war, offering three separate options to the now elated entrepreneur:

  • £30,000 for 25 percent of the company 
  • £60,000 for 50 percent of the company
  • The option to join with Mr Bannatyne or Mr Jones to provide the full £60,000 and a split 50 percent of the company.

However, Mr Jones noted that he was not willing to share and Mr Mendham promptly accepted Mr Jones as a sole investor.

Dragon’s Den airs every Thursday at 8pm on BBC.

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